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I have never known a man who was sensual in his youth, who was high-minded when old…Charles Sumner

I’m not to blame for being white sir.—Massachusetts senator and prominent antislavery advocate Charles Sumner is attacked here. The artist questions his sincerity as a humanitarian as he shows him dispensing a few coins to a black child on the street, while ignoring the appeal of a ragged white urchin. The scene is witnessed by two stylishly dressed young women. .. Library of Congress print

This from a life-long bachelor who was unable to sustain a marriage when he was at the height of his career but Donald is almost a high priest in the cult of Lincoln and equivocates his way through 400+ pages attempting to make a silk purse of a sow’s ear known to his contemporaries as The Great Impotency.

The second in a series of anti-Lincoln satires by Bromley & Co. This number was deposited for copyright on July 1, 1864. The artist serves up a vision of the supposed consequences of racial equality in America in this attack on the Republican espousal of equal rights. The scene takes place in a park-like setting with a fountain in the shape of a boy on a dolphin and a large bridge in the background. A black woman (left), “Miss Dinah, Arabella, Aramintha Squash,” is presented by abolitionist senator Charles Sumner to President Lincoln. Lincoln bows and says, “I shall be proud to number among my intimate friends any member of the Squash family, especially the little Squashes.” The woman responds, “Ise ‘quainted wid Missus Linkum I is, washed for her ‘fore de hebenly Miscegenation times was cum. Dont do nuffin now but gallevant ’round wid de white gemmen! . . . ” A second mixed couple sit at a small table (center) eating ice cream. The black woman says, “Ah! Horace its-its-its bully ‘specially de cream.” Her companion, Republican editor Horace Greeley, answers, “Ah! my dear Miss Snowball we have at last reached our political and social Paradise. Isn’t it extatic?” To the right a white woman embraces a black dandy, saying, “Oh! You dear creature. I am so agitated! Go and ask Pa.” He replies, “Lubly Julia Anna, name de day, when Brodder Beecher [abolitionist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher] shall make us one!” At the far right a second white woman sits on the lap of a plump black man reminding him, “Adolphus, now you’ll be sure to come to my lecture tomorrow night, wont you?” He assures her, “Ill be there Honey, on de front seat, sure!” A German onlooker (far right) remarks, “Mine Got. vat a guntry, vat a beebles!” A well-dressed man with a monocle exclaims, “Most hextwadinary! Aw neva witnessed the like in all me life, if I did dem me!” An Irishwoman pulls a carriage holding a black baby and complains, “And is it to drag naggur babies that I left old Ireland? Bad luck to me.” In the center a Negro family rides in a carriage driven by a white man with two white footmen. The father lifts his hat and says, “Phillis de-ah dars Sumner. We must not cut him if he is walking.” Their driver comments, “Gla-a-ang there 240s! White driver, white footmen, niggers inside, my heys! I wanted a sitiwation when I took this one.” The term “miscegenation” was coined during the 1864 presidential campaign to discredit the Republicans, who were charged with fostering the intermingling of the races. In the lower margin are prices and instructions for ordering various numbers of copies of the print. A single copy cost twenty-five cents “post paid.”…Library of Congress print

On the one hand we have the reasonable Sumner advocating change speaking before the Senate in 1852, To make a law final, so as not to be reached by Congress, is, by mere legislation, to fasten a new provision on the Constitution. Nay, more; it gives to the law a character which the very Constitution docs not possess. The wise fathers did not treat the country as a Chinese foot, never to grow after infancy; but, anticipating Progress, they declared expressly that their great Act is not final. According to the Constitution itself, there is not one of its existing provisions — not even that with regard to fugitives from labor — which may not at all times be reached by amendment, and thus be drawn into debate. This is rational and just. Sir, nothing from man’s hands, nor law, nor constitution, can be final. Truth alone is final.

A dramatic portrayal, clearly biased toward the northern point of view, of an incident in Congress which inflamed sectional passions in 1856. The artist recreates the May 22 attack and severe beating of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina. Brooks’s actions were provoked by Sumner’s insulting public remarks against his cousin, Senator Andrew Pickens Butler, and against Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas, delivered in the Senate two days earlier. The print shows an enraged Brooks (right) standing over the seated Sumner in the Senate chamber, about to land on him a heavy blow of his cane. The unsuspecting Sumner sits writing at his desk. At left is another group. Brooks’s fellow South Carolinian Representative Lawrence M. Keitt stands in the center, raising his own cane menacingly to stay possible intervention by the other legislators present. Clearly no help for Sumner is forthcoming. Behind Keitt’s back, concealed in his left hand, Keitt holds a pistol. In the foreground are Georgia senator Robert Toombs (far left) and Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas (hands in pockets) looking vindicated by the event. Behind them elderly Kentucky senator John J. Crittenden is restrained by a fifth, unidentified man…Library of Congress print

Did he pursue the changes he desired by Constitutional amendment and reasonable discourse? Consider his insult against Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina delivered on the floor of the Senate in 1856, The Senator from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself a chivalrous knight, with sentiments of honor and courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight I mean the harlot, Slavery. For her, his tongue is always profuse in words.

A figurative portrayal of the rift within the Republican party resulting from the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. Here New York senator and would-be nominee William H. Seward watches as the radical antislavery senator from Massachusetts Charles Sumner releases a snarling cat, the “Spirit of Discord,” from a “Republican Bag.” The cat bolts toward New York “Tribune” editor Horace Greeley and Lincoln, who wields a rail in his defense. Greeley exclaims, “What are you doing Sumner! you’ll spoil all! she aint to be let out until after Lincoln is elected,–” Lincoln, also alarmed, rejoins, “Oh Sumner! this is too bad!–I thought we had her safely bagged at Chicago [i.e., the Republican national convention at Chicago], now there will be the old scratch to pay, unless I can drive her back again with my rail!” Sumner replies, “It’s no use talking Gentlemen, I was’nt mentioned at Chicago, and now I’m going to do something desperate, I can’t afford to have my head broken and be kept corked up four years for nothing!” The mention of his broken head refers to the widely publicized 1856 beating inflicted on Sumner by South Carolina congressman Preston S. Brooks. (See “Arguments of the Chivalry,” no. 1856-1.) Seward warns, “Gentlemen be cautious you don’t know how to manage that animal as well as I did, and Im afraid that some of you will get “scratched.” Henry J. Raymond, editor of the “New York Times,” stands in background shouting, “Scat!–scat!–back with her, or our fat will all be in the fire.”
Library of Congress print

Slavery could have been ended by Constitutional amendment – it would have, under the Constitution, required compensation to the slave holders for their slaves – and this the northern industrial interests were unwilling to contribute to in spite of every Southern effort at accommodation. Their final offer was the original 13th amendment which would have enshrined slavery permanently in the South – an amendment supported by Lincoln even after he became president! This was too much for the Sumner’s who, from the lunatic fringe of the abolitionist movement, pulled the nation into war while the industrialists counted their profits and dreamed of the nation-state to come.

An election-year cartoon, predicting the victory of former New York governor Horatio Seymour in the presidential race. Here, Seymour’s head hovers, glowing, above the White House, complacently watching a group of struggling Republicans. Republican candidate Grant and his running mate Colfax draw a wagon, the “Chicago Platform,” loaded with supporters up a steep hill toward the White House. Charles Wilkes, seated in front of the wagon, wagers, “. . . 5, 10, 15 or 20 dollars on little joker Grant,–” Ohio ex-senator Benjamin Wade grumbles, “Just as I told them! there is no strength in this team! why didn’t they put me and [Theodore] Tilton on the ticket?” Massachusetts representative Benjamin F. Butler, holding spoons, says, “I begin to feel a little spooney for with all Grants strength & Colfax to help him we seem to be going backwards.” As military governor of New Orleans in 1862, Butler earned a reputation as a corrupt plunderer. Under his administration the city’s financial management was so irregular that he was alleged to have stolen the spoons from his own house. Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner exclaims: “Why! Old Thad has fallen off the platform!” “New York Tribune” editor Horace Greeley says: “Well we wont stop to pick him up, its a pity he hadn’t fell off before.” Thaddeus Stevens (lying on the ground behind) retorts: “I’d rather fall off than ride with an Old scare crow like you,–” Other, silent passengers are former abolitionist Wendell Phillips, the bearded Edwin M. Stanton, and an unidentified man. In the front, Colfax, straining at the rope pulling the wagon, cries, “Hold on General!–for if we let go the whole party will go to destruction.” Grant replies, “I can’t fight it out on this line against the rising Sun!” These words are a play on his famous statement, “We will fight it out on this line,” in a dispatch to Washington during the Spotsylvania campaign… Library of Congress print

Charles Sumner and the coming of the Civil War Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, c 2009 David Herbert Donald United States. Congress. Senate Biography, Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 Book. Originally published: New York : Knopf, 1960. xxiii, 407 p. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [324]-379) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG   

Print shows a large rock with a split in it, standing on the rock, on the left, is Ulysses S. Grant and hiding at the left end of the rock are A. Oakey Hall, William M. Tweed, Peter B. Sweeny, and John T. Hoffman; standing on the rock on the right is Carl Schurz, he is holding a large mallet, labeled “Cincinnati nomination,” about to strike Horace Greeley, who is stuck in the split in the rock, and hiding at the right end of the rock are Charles A. Dana, Charles Sumner, Lyman Trumbull, and B. Gratz Brown… Library of Congress print

Charles Sumner (1811–1874), U.S. Senator from Massachusetts for two decades, was an ardent abolitionist; a founder of the Republican Party; chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1861 to 1871; chief of the Radical Republicans during the Civil War and Reconstruction; Lincoln’s friend and, later, Grant’s nemesis; as well as an advocate for universal equality, international peace, women’s suffrage, and educational and prison reform.

We have chosen to represent Sumner from beginning to end with caricature prints from the Library of Congress because in the tradition of those modern day radicals from Massachusetts who have littered the Senate with verbosity he was never anything more than a caricature.

 

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